Editorial: Empower yourself, make an informed vote

By on March 26, 2009

We are devoting, both in this and the April 2 edition, a large amount of space to ensuring we can provide our readers with full coverage of the candidates and issues they feel are important in the April 7 election.

Despite the increase of attention on the most recent presidential election, the fact of the matter is that the results from local elections have a more direct impact on individuals’ lives than a state or federal one.

These are the people who make decisions about policing, what your local library does or does not do, what streets are worked on and on the pace and configuration of growth and development; in addition to countless other aspects that dictate the future of your hometown.

We also urge you to consider our election coverage as one piece of your information pie. We urge you to look deeper into the issues facing our communities and the candidates trying to earn your vote. View their websites, read letters to the editor and the comments on our website at www.elburnherald.com, contact them directly if you can; the more information you can obtain, the more informed your vote will be, and the greater ownership you can take in the direction of your community.

Far too often while discussing politics and policy—local, state or federal—the discussion turns into a combination of complaints and a desire for real change by real people who want to make a real difference. Yet, these discussions also tend to include the hopelessness that these things are not attainable; that those types of candidates do not exist; or that there is no way to tell those who “get it” and those who do not.

In terms of this election cycle, the first step is to find out as much as you can about each issue and each candidate, in order to help determine who “gets it” as well as to begin transforming that sense of political helplessness into a sense of empowerment.

In terms of future elections, if you feel that your representatives—local, state or federal—are not living up to the responsibilities they were given by the people, then we urge you to overcome that sense of helplessness by either running for office yourself, or by finding someone who “gets” it and convincing them to run.

On April 7, you have an opportunity to help shape the way your local communities are run and will change and grow in the next several years. It is a right, as well as a responsibility, to vote; and you owe it to yourselves, and your fellow citizens, to make that vote an informed one.